The Sunday afternoon session of General Synod opened with an address by the Most Revd Drexel Gomez (Archbishop of the West Indies and chair of the Anglican Covenant Design Group). Synod then went onto a full-scale debate on the proposed Anglican Covenant. The debate was on the following motion moved by the Bishop of Chichester.
‘That this Synod:
(a) affirm its willingness to engage positively with the unanimous recommendation of the Primates in February 2007 for a process designed to produce a covenant for the Anglican Communion;
(b) note that such a process will only be concluded when any definitive text has been duly considered through the synodical processes of the provinces of the Communion; and
(c) invite the Presidents, having consulted the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council, to agree the terms of a considered response to the draft from the Covenant Design Group for submission to the Anglican Communion Office by the end of the year.’
Three amendments were moved. Mr Tim Cox (a council member of Church Society) moved:
Leave out everything after “That this Synod” and insert:
(a) note the unanimous recommendation of the Primates in February 2007;
(b) believe that the Covenant process will prove inadequate to address the problems presently dividing the Communion; and
(c) urge all the Provinces of the Anglican Communion to declare themselves in communion only with those Provinces, dioceses and congregations that:
(i) assert whole-heartedly that the Scriptures are the Word of God;
(ii) uphold the historic Anglican formularies (the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, 1662 Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal); and
(iii) on the current presenting cause of division, uphold the Biblical teaching that sexual intercourse belongs solely within the lifelong commitment of a man and woman in marriage.
Mr Justin Brett (Oxford) moved:
In paragraph (a) leave out the words “affirm its willingness to engage positively with” and insert “note”.
The Revd Jonathan Clark (London) moved:
In paragraph (c) leave out all the words after “the Archbishops’ Council” and insert “to bring back to the next group of sessions of Synod for approval a considered response to the draft from the Covenant Design Group for submission to the Anglican Communion Office”.
Each of the three amendments was defeated on a show of hands. Finally the Bishop of Chichester’s unamended motion was put to the vote and carried on a show of hands.